By: Alex Greenberg
Nicky Wieners scored in the 74th minute for the Boston University to lift the Terriers over Loyola Maryland in a comeback victory Saturday, 2-1.
The win kept BU atop the Patriot League as they improved to 3-0-1 in league play.
Going into the weekend matchup at BU, the Loyola Maryland Greyhounds had only scored two goals in their opening ten games of the season. After a bland first half in which neither team had any clear chances on goal, Loyola scored in the 48th minute to take the lead and stun those in attendance at Nickerson Field.
Greyhound defender Mickey Watson came forward to score Loyola’s third goal of the season with a looping header from a free kick. BU keeper Matt Gilbert came to claim the ball, but lost out to the leaping Watson.
“I don’t know if Matt lost it in the sun,” said BU Coach Neil Roberts. “The communication between him and the backs on that one was not good.”
With BU losing 1-0 a team with one of the lowest records in the Patriot League, something had to change for the Terriers.
Coach Roberts made some tactical changes swapping junior Mark Wadid and freshman Adam Wright on the wings. The move enabled each player to cut inside on their dominant foot.
The switch worked to perfection in the 63rd minute. Wright danced by a few Greyhound defenders before finding Richie Robinson in the middle. Robinson took a touch at the top of the box and calmly finessed his shot into the side netting, just past a diving Matt Sanchez.
“I was just trying to get the ball into the box,” said Wright. “Whether it’s down the line or in the middle, I had to just find a way to get the ball in the box, and I was able to.”
BU started to carry more of the play following the tying goal. The Terriers turned up the pressure, especially when the Greyhounds had possession on their own side of the field.
Freshman Nicki Wieners entered into the game as a substitute in the second half, allowing the Terriers to boost their attack.
Wieners went on the right wing, Wright stayed on the left, and Wadid began playing in a more central role.
The latest positional swap paid dividends almost immediately when Wieners netted the winning goal just minutes after coming onto the pitch.
Wieners slotted a low shot into the net after he was played in by some intricate play between Felix De Bona and Magnus Benediktsson. The assist was credited to the freshman Benediktsson, who has now tallied an impressive four assists on the season.
For much of the game the Terriers had been losing battles and possession in the midfield. In the second half midfielders Benediktsson, T.J. Butzke, and Robinson all stepped up to give BU more control of the game.
“The balance is definitely important,” said Robinson. “The game would be a lot more spread out but defensively I have to pick up the work by keeping the backs and the forwards together.”
Despite the lead, the Terriers still had work to do in the game’s final fifteen minutes. Matt Gilbert was called upon to make two game-saving stops. Xander Saling was through on goal in the 77th minute but Gilbert was quick off his line to make a diving stop. Mickey Watson almost had his second goal of the game when he headed Laurin Vogel’s corner kick towards the far post, only for it to be stopped by a diving Gilbert.
Gilbert’s late heroics secured BU its fourth win in a row and eighth win of the season.
Loyola Maryland suffered their eighth loss, but gave the Terriers more than they may have expected from the last place team in the Patriot League.
“We weren’t quick enough,” said Coach Roberts. “In the second half we were a little bit better. I give the guys credit for their fight and for coming back.”
The next game for the Terriers will be on Tuesday night when they take on Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island with kickoff scheduled for 7:00 p.m.